Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Tomorrowland Tuesday - Meet Stitch!

Do you know where to find the most cuddly alien at Walt Disney World?  

In Tomorrowland of course!  

You can find Stitch near the entrance to the Tomorrowland People Mover.

Alden was not real sure what to think of Stitch because he does interact a lot!  

This is a good way to pass some time with little guys while the bigger kids ride Space Mountain!  
 He meets here throughout the day but be sure to always check your Times Guide for better details!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Meal Time Monday- Tusker House

It is time to dine with the Disney Characters.  Let's venture into Disney's Animal Kingdom.

Welcome to Tusker House, it is the home of Donald's Breakfast safari.

This meal has a great buffet with lots of amazing African and American options.  Even the pickiest of eaters will walk away with a full stomach. 

It is a large buffet with lots of room to move and make your choices.

All the characters you meet are ready to head out on safari.  Here is Donald Duck!

Mickey Mouse has his safari gear on too.


Daisy Duck!

 This is a great meal to meet lots of the big name characters and in a little different outfit.   This meal can work out well if you can snag an 8am time. You can be done eating and head to Kilimanjaro Safari right afterward. You could also make a reservation for a nice cool lunch to escape the hot day and get off your feet.

The peak times can go quick so be ready to book this popular meal at 180 days out!

You can find the menu for breakfast and menu for lunch!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Tomorrowland Tuesday - Space Mountain

A view of Space Mountain from the Tomorrowland Speedway.
Space Mountain maybe the most iconic Disney Mountain.  

We try to attack this 'mountain' first thing after rope drop or with a Fast Pass+.  We came straight here after rope drop (park opening) and as you can see there is no waiting!

The way you sit is in a row rather then side by side wich can be scary for a child that is not so sure about roller coasters yet. (The height requirement for Space Mountain is 44 inches tall. You can get a Rider's Swap pass if you have a child that is too small to ride.)

It is time to launch into space!

Still Launching!

Space Mountain also offers an on ride photo!

Space Mountain is a fairly slow roller coaster, however it is DARK!  The darkness adds to the thrills.  There are lots of tight turns and short drops.

This is a picture from the Tomorrowland People Mover when the lights were on inside the Space Mountain!  As you can see it is a twist and turn type coaster.  There are actually two sets of tracks that run as mirror images of each other.  Two roller coasters in one mountain!  

Monday, February 17, 2014

Meal Time Monday - Cinderella's Royal Table - Breakfast Lunch and Dinner

Have you ever wanted to dine inside Cinderella Castle?  Of course you have, who doesn't!?!?

Cinderella's Royal Table gives you just that chance.  They serve Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner, and all come with a side of Princesses!

Disney's website describes the experience as:
"Cinderella makes your acquaintance in the majestic Grand Hall, before you ascend a spiral staircase to the banquet hall above. (A gilded elevator is also available to transport you to the festivities. Then, dine in a storybook setting surrounded by soaring stone archways, majestic medieval flags and spectacular stained-glass windows overlooking Fantasyland. During your time inside the castle, visit with classic Disney Princesses."
We have enjoyed both breakfast and dinner in the castle.  You get to meet Cinderella first for a formal photo session.  Then you head up to the banquet hall to be directed to your seat.  Once in your seat - like any other meal - they take your drink and food order, but that is just the beginning.  
When we plan a breakfast, we like to get the very first one of the morning.  This allows you into the Magic Kingdom before the regular park opening on most days of the year, BUT this is one of the most difficult times to snag.  Therfore you must be ready to book this 180 days in advance!  
This is a picture from Main Street USA before an 8:05am reservation.   We were also done eating by 9:00am (when the park opened) and got be the first ones in line for Princess Merida!

For breakfast you get a family style plate (picture above) and also order your main dish off the menu.

Then the princesses start working their way around the room.  They visit each table so you do not have to fight to see them.  They come to you!  One nice thing about this meal is the food is brought to you so you do not have to worry about missing a princess by heading to the buffet for food.

We celebrated Clair's third birthday at Cinderella's Royal Table!  She got a cupcake and the waiters sang to her.

Another fun tidbit about Cinderella's Royal Table - the girls receive wands and the boys receive swords.  The kids love these and they are something that you cannot buy anywhere else!

This meal can even accomidate large parties.   (But make sure you have your reservation priority list ready at 180 days out!) 

When you check in you get a ticket and if you have any food allergies you can see that they mark that very clearly.  The one good thing about a food allergy is you get to meet the chief.  They will come to your table and make sure to prepare the perfect meal for you.

Alden thought he got to use his sward to cut his stake.  (Silly boy!)

We have met Ariel, Snow White, Aurora, Jasmine, and Belle. (This is subject to change without notice.)

The food was good, but to be honest it is not the main attraction of this dining experience.  It is a combination of being IN the castle and meeting princess after princess without a line. The food is a very nice bonus! 

You can find the Menu here!  This meal is also 2 table service cedits on the Disney Dinning Plan.

Will you want to dine in the castle?  Email me or give me a call and I can help plan your magical vacation.  

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Trip Report - Day Two 3 Night Disney Cruise Disney Dream

Good Morning!  It is day two of our 3 night Disney Cruise and like all good cruisers, we went to the buffet!

Cabanas has a Finding Nemo theme.  The murals were huge and so amazing! A camera can not do them justice.   Can you find Nemo and Marlin? 

As we entererend Cabanas we were among the first people there.  Only half of the buffet was open at that time.  There are lots of options for breakfast.  The main thing Doug was concerned about was Mickey Waffles.  The buffet was populated by Eggs, sussages, fruit, pancakes, and much more.  There are even a full assortment of cereals and milks in small containers.  

The view out our Port Hole as we backed into port.

As we were done with breakfast we headed to the gangway to head into Nassau.  The Princess gathering was just starting.  As you can see by looking at the iPads in front of us, Cinderella is heading down the stairs.  The princess gathering is a great way to meet lots of princess in a short time.  It may seem like a long line but you get to meet all the ladies at once.  What you can do in 30 to 45 min on the cruise ship would take you most of a day in the parks.  

Off the ship and heading toward customs.  

As you can see, it is not crowed when you are one of the first people off the ship.  Had we stayed to great some royalty on the ship I don't think it would have delayed us too much.  The key was having breakfast early and getting on with the day.

By getting off the ship early we were able to get this shot of the Disney Dream.  If we had waited and slept in by the time we made it here there would have been two more ships docked between the Disney Dream and Nassau.

We arrived outside, after navigating our way through the "festival House" or the customs building that is more like an officially licensed flea market..  You are greated by dozens of cab drivers and other trying to "give you a ride."  We were good with walking.   Our goal was to find the Queen's Staircase and Fort Fincastle.   We wandered past the Parlament building and there were a few statues in the park.

The walk to the Fort is not too far.  About 6 to 8 blocks is all.  The walk is mostly up hill, but the way back is downhill, so it evens out.  We managed to walk a little more because the "festival house" makes you exit at the far end and that threw us off a little on our orientation.  Combine that with the many cab drivers asking to give you a ride, and we just wanted to walk as far away from the chaos.  Doug just walked in the most convenuent direction to get a block or so down the road before looking for a street sign.  He claimed to memorize the route to the Fort and was looking for a couple street signs.  This was more of a challenge than he planned, because the city of Nassau does not fully believe in the use of street signs.    

So after a few wrong turns, and walking past one smelly dead cat, we found the Queen's Staircase.  The lower enterance is located by a parking lot and not extremely well marked.  When we approached the entrance, a guy started talking to us about the staircase giving us all kinds of great info. It was like he was just passing the time standing by being a tour guide.  Well, we learned that he was just the first of many "tour guides" we would encounter.  After his rather lengthy talk, he held his hand out for a tip.  Fortunately, we had a few dollar bills on us.  For the rest of the "guides" we just kept walking.  

Once we found it and we were done with our "guide" we were able to enjoy the place.  It was neat.  

Lots of steps.  Also they are very steep and get slippery when wet.  We were glad we found them to go up because neither of us really wanted to use them to come down.  

Handed our camera to couple still wearing their Disney Cruise Line lanyard. I figured we would know where to find them since we could see them wearing their room key right out in plain site.  

Once we got to the top of the steps, the fort is just of to the right.  Near the entrance to the fort you will find tour buses parked.

We bought our ticket to go in for just a few bucks and found more "tour guides"

The view could be one of the best of the port with the cruise ships.  We managed to get here in time too, before the other ships docked blocking the view of the Dream.  

This is the water tower.  They seemed quite proud of it, so I took a picture.  It is easy to spot from the deck of the cruise ship but it was hard to see as we were walking to the stairs and fort.  Doug thought we would be able to use it as a land mark to get there easier and that clearly back fired.  

After a few minutes at the fort, we walked back downhill to find the straw market.  This is picture of the Parlament building.  Just a touch smaller then what we find in D.C.

A look down Bay Street.  Lots of jewelry stores.

And the straw market  which is only a couple blocks from the entrance/exit of the Festival House.  We wondered through the rows of stuff and got the girls little bags and had the lady put their names on them.  Alden got a little turtle thing made out of a coconut shell.  

We headed back to the Dream after the Straw market.  It is amazing the size of the ship.  

You just don't get use to a view like this

After our adventures into Nassau we went back onboard to take a few spins on the Aqua Duck and swim a little in the adult area.  Doug sat in the pool and got in on a conversation about the pros and cons of the Disney Vacation Club.  There is an end of the pool that has seats around the edge just like a hot tub.  I got some sun and relaxed some on the top deck.  

We also ran into Donald.

Got a little snack at the Vista Cafe.

Then  it was time to change and grab a late lunch. We had pizza and burgers at the counter service area.  It is so strange to just walk up and ask for food and walk away without paying.   

After lunch we we wondered around the decks some before we got ready for Pirate night.  This is the view back towards the fort and water tower.  As you can see there is now a ship docked between the Disney Dream and Nassau.

Donald got shot off the Aquaduck.  The white tube going into the funnel is the Aquaduck.

Lots of areas to take in the sun on deck 12 of the adult area.

This is as far forward as you can go on the top deck.  

Doug was ready to go for pirate night

A view down at the forward most spot.  You can see the Teen club Vibe right in the front of the ship.  

We ran into Pirate Minnie.

Then Pirate Mickey.

Tink informed me she does not like pirates.

Dinner that night was at Animator's Palate.  

It is not just dinner -  it is a show.  Crush comes and talks to you on the screens around the dinning room. He interacts much like he does in Turtle Talk with Crush in Epcot.  It was funny and entertaining.  It did not seem to interfere with dinner at all.

Doug thought he would pick the oddest thing on the menu for his appetizer.  He got a shrimp and onion cheese cake.  He liked both of those things separately, so why not put them together?!  He was wrong! It was gross, but fun to try.  

What was good was all the other food we had on the cruise.  This is my steak and Doug got a Veal Trio.  All very good.   

Crazy animal in our stateroom after dinner.

Gold coin chocolates for pirate night.

The "Glow" of the ship was so pretty at night.

Beautiful sunset that night.

We were a little slow getting a spot for the pirate show.  We went to the Villians Tonight show in the Walt Disney Theater and it was very enjoyable.  Then we went up to deck 12 to watch the Buccanear Blast show and fireworks.  They shoot them off the starboard side of the ship.  

Immediately after the fireworks, there is a late night pirate buffet in Cabanas.

Pirates must like tacos, turkey legs, and cookies because that is what Doug found to eat.  There were other options as well.

That raps up a long day 2 on the Disney Dream.